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SCIENCE
August 28, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Scientists have caught the first images of a boa constrictor consuming a 9-pound howler monkey, and they are gruesome. In the gallery above, you will see the boa constrictor ingesting the monkey head-first, bit by bit.  The images accompany a study describing a play by play of the snake attack published in the journal Primates by Julio Cesar Bicca-Marques of Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul and his student  ...
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BUSINESS
July 7, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Bipedal robots, in general, are a pretty stilted bunch. Their movements are overarticulated, they wobble, they topple, and when faced with an obstacle -- even one as slight as a slope change -- they often can't overcome it. But that may soon change. This week, researchers from the Univeristy of Arizona published a paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering that describes the development of a new type of robot legs that mimic the neuromuscular architecture of human walking.
SCIENCE
February 4, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Up and down the West Coast, starfish are dying. Casualties of a mysterious disease known as seastar wasting syndrome, they are dying in Alaska, deteriorating in San Diego and disappearing from long stretches  in between. Death from the disease is quick and icky. It begins with a small lesion on a starfish's body that rapidly develops into an infection the animal cannot fight. Over the course of the disease the starfish's legs might drop off, or even separate from the body and start to crawl away, as you can see in the PBS news story below.
NEWS
September 4, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Screaming at your teenagers to discipline them can make their behavior worse - even if you otherwise have a warm family relationship, researchers say. The effects were comparable to those in studies that focused on physical punishments, the researchers said. “From that we can infer that these results will last the same way that the effects of physical discipline do,” the lead researcher, Ming-Te Wang, an assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh, said in a statement.
SCIENCE
October 17, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
Is 2012 the end of the world? If you scan the Internet or believe the marketing campaign behind the movie "2012," scheduled for release in November, you might be forgiven for thinking so. Dozens of books and fake science websites are prophesying the arrival of doomsday that year, by means of a rogue planet colliding with the Earth or some other cataclysmic event. Normally, scientists regard Internet hysteria with nothing more than a raised eyebrow and a shake of the head. But a few scientists have become so concerned at the level of fear they are seeing that they decided not to remain on the sidelines this time.
SCIENCE
February 1, 2013 | By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times
Scientists have infused "life" into inanimate chemical compounds by flashing a blue-violet light that prompted them to assemble themselves into a crystal. The feat, described in a study published online Thursday by the journal Science, marks an important step toward creating "active" materials that can repair themselves, such as a smartphone screen that fixes its own cracks or a Kevlar vest that fills a hole made by a bullet, experts said. Showing that microscopic particles can be made to come together or break apart on their own "opens a new area for design and production of novel and moving structures," wrote the study authors, a team of physicists and chemists from New York University and Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
SCIENCE
May 7, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Famed physicist Stephen Hawking set off chatter in the scientific community in late April when he posited the existence of intelligent aliens on his new TV series, "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking" —adding that it would be best for human beings to avoid contact with them. Hawking speculated that such aliens would likely be nomads, living in ships after sucking their own planet dry of resources, and hopping from one interstellar refueling station to the next. Earth, he said, shouldn't do anything to encourage their visit.
SCIENCE
May 22, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
It's time to face the fungal foot facts: On average, each one of us is currently walking around with 100 types of fungi living on the soles of our feet, in between our toes, and on our toenails, according to a new study. It may sound gross, but that fungal diversity doesn't have to be a bad thing -- especially if healthy fungus populations can keep bad fungi at bay, like the kind that causes Athlete's foot or toenail scaling. "Skin bacteria and fungi have gotten a bum rap," said Julie Segre, a geneticist at the Human Genome Research Institute and the lead author of the study , published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
NEWS
December 20, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel
Why are our hands the shape that they are? Compared with those of other apes, the thumb is longer and the palms and fingers are short. Scientist have  a variety of ideas as to why they evolved to be that way: --The comparatively longer thumb allows us so much more dexterity, permitting us to make tools. --The proportions of the hand may be the indirect consequence of natural selection for a foot with a long toe, so handy for keeping balance while walking. (Hand and foot development occur along very similar lines, and many of the same molecules are involved.
SCIENCE
January 28, 2013 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A team of storm-chasing scientists sampling rarefied air has found a world of bacteria and fungi floating about 30,000 feet above Earth. The findings, detailed Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that microbes have the potential to affect the weather. Scientists have long studied airborne bacteria, but they typically do so from the ground, often trekking to mountain peaks to examine microbes in fresh snow. Beyond that, they don't know much about the number and diversity of floating microbes, said study coauthor Athanasios Nenes, an atmospheric scientist at Georgia Tech.
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